The term “feminist” gets thrown around a lot in the Christian debate about “a woman’s place”. Having been involved in this debate on the Christian blogosphere for the last year and a half, I have noticed that while many like to talk about feminism, it seems that very few actually know much about it. In fact, I’m not sure any word is more misunderstood and misused in evangelicalism today than “feminist.”
Last year I taught a college course on Women in Politics where we spent 4 weeks going over the history of the women’s movement. We also evaluated egalitarian theology, and the stories of women who were personally touched by feminism. This seemed to help my students understand the power dynamics between men and women in society and have more educated discussions on the topic in class, so I thought it might be of help to others as well.
A Little About this Series
As many of you know, March is Women’s History Month in the United States and this year’s theme is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives”. Here’s more about the theme from the official website:
The stories of women’s lives, and the choices they made, encourage girls and young women to think larger and bolder, and give boys and men a fuller understanding of the female experience. Knowing women’s achievements challenges stereotypes and upends social assumptions about who women are and what women can accomplish today.”
This is obviously an important month for those of us here at The Junia Project, so during the month we will be focusing on three topics:
On Mondays we will be sharing personal stories of women who identify in some way as feminists. Not all Christians identify as feminists, and not all egalitarians sympathize with the term either. We hope that hearing from these women who are both Christians and feminists will broaden our understanding and give us a fuller context in which to have conversations about equality in the Church.
Women in Church History
Wednesdays will focus on women in Church history. In this series, Michael Wiltshire will be addressing the posture that many of us unknowingly have, which assumes that the Church was built on the backs of men. The role of women in different phases of Church history will be highlighted, in order to offer a truer picture of Christianity which will benefit women and men alike.
Every Friday in March will be “Feminist Friday”. Tune in weekly to learn about the different “waves” of feminism. My hope is that by learning about this historical movement for civil rights, we will be able to bust a few evangelical myths about this scary “F word”. We will also look more closely at what it means to be a Christian and a Feminist.
As this series begins, I feel it is important to clarify one thing: Christian egalitarianism is not feminism. Although I personally identify as both an egalitarian and a feminist, I do not believe that all egalitarians should be feminists.
Our hope is not that people would become feminists, but that having a more thorough understanding of the history of women, we would all be better equipped to engage in knowledgeable and productive conversations about women in the Church.
So join us for Women’s History Month 2015 as we take a closer look at women in the church and in society. It’s going to be a wild ride!